Hurricanes Baseball Reporter
Tonight Gino and JD will be burning the midnight oil trying to figure out how they can possibly salvage the season because it actually starts. I think they have finally come to the realization that what I have been writing since the fall preseason is that we don’t have a pitching cadre that will be competitive against ACC competition. Wednesday’s scrimmage was bad when we were utilizing the BP, but today after the performance of two of our front runners as starters and what the offensive bats did not only to them but everyone else JD threw at them has to be a MAJOR, MAJOR concern. You can look at it from the offensive side, and have to be extremely satisfied with how the bats finally opened the floodgates in GRAND style. When all is said and done, I think one thing is certain: Andrew Walters is our Closer. He did today, what no one else was able to do. He faced three batters and took less than 10 pitches to send them down in order. This solves one issue, but the bigger issue is who among the rest of the pitching cadre can keep the game close enough for Andrew to secure the win. Can our offense put up enough runs to keep our struggling hurlers enough above water to prevent their drowning?
Today, what should have been a showcase performance by two of our starters, Gage Ziehl and Karson Ligon was anything but. Gage endured for three innings and Karson for 4 combining for a total of 9 runs on 12 hits. Karson finally came out of his coma and put in a quality performance in the 4th going 3up/3down. Maybe he salvaged his hope with that one inning to keep his hat still alive for a starting call.
This was a day where the offensive arsenal, not the pitching showcased their talents in what hopes to be more of what to expect with the season two weeks away. Scouts were plentiful today to what they had hope to see in pitching but what they got was more than they bargain for with a breakout performance in hitting. Gino had two of his front liners to open today’s scrimmage with Gage Ziehl and Karson Ligon. Both Gage and Karson got more than they to see in the first inning each giving up 3 hits and a pair of runs. Gage had to see 7 batters step to the plate in the first before retiring. Singles by Jacoby Long to open, RBI single by Yoyo, and the same for Renzo Gonzalez putting two runs on the board to start the barrage of hits/runs to follow. Rather than hold onto the lead, Martin Ligon watched it quickly go by the wayside with Dario Gomez rattling his cage with a leadoff single, RBI single by Ian Farrow, and the same for Dominic Pitelli. A 3-6-3 DP by Jack Scanlon thankfully saved his not matching the 7 batters Gage endured stopping at 6.
Things did not improve for Gage in the second putting up like number in the run dept. with two coming off of an E5 from Yoyo on a throwing error to first and RBI single by Jason Torres. Karson skated without a run, but not before giving up a hit and a walk.
The third was back to batting practice with each giving up runs. Gage gave up the first of many extra-base hits that were seen today with a leadoff triple to right by Dario Gomez. CJ followed it up with an RBI single. Karson did Gage one better in the run category with Ian Farrow losing the ball in right which should have been the second out turning it into two runs. Blake Cyr who was now on second steals third, Kaden Martin walks putting runners on the corners, and JD Jones brings both home with a double.
Gage called it the day after 3 but Karson stayed for one more inning and sort of redeemed himself by going 3up/3down. Time to go to the BP hopefuls with Gunther Braendal leading it off replacing Gage to pitch the 4th. The offensive punch was way too much for Gunther to survive not getting past one out before being relieved. Gaby Gutierrez opened with a Friday day special off the scoreboard with Blake Cyr singling and Kaden Martin with his 3rd round-tripper of the preseason. Before calling it a day JD Jones reached 1st via an E6 (Ariel Garcia) and Matt Torres singling. JD brings in Brian Walters to stop the blood bath striking out Gaby and Blake looking.
Chris Scinta got to pitch the 5th and was the only one from the BP to give a commendable performance. Came away only giving up a hit to Ian Farrow and facing a low of 4 batters without a run. Maybe a ray of hope to look for from the BP. His counterpart Alejandro Torres. like those before him fell victim to the mighty bats of Dorian Gonzalez (double) followed by another yarder for the day this coming from the bat of Yoyo Morales.
Finally, what the scouts had been waiting for in the presence of Andrew Walters. They were probably expecting him to start but instead, he returned to where he belongs: Closer. Visions of last year returning: making quick work of the 3 batters he faced. Keeping my fingers crossed that this is where we will see him at the start of the season. The big question is if that is the case who is Gino’s choice for the starting three? Still have another week to ponder this thought.
Today, honors go to the Offense and their awesome bats. They are going to have to continue doing likewise throughout the course of the season to maintain the runs expected to be given up by our Achilles Heel. 15 hits total today, 5 for extra bases which included two doubles ( Dorian Gonzalez, JD Jones), triple (Dario Gomez) and 3 downtowners (Gaby Gutierrez,Yoyo Morales,Kaden Martin). 4 for multiple hits: Dario Gomez 2-3 (HR,RBI), Jason Torres 2-4 (RBI), Dorian Gonzalez 2-3(double), Yoyo Morales 2-2(HR,3RBIs).
Tomorrow weather permitting, we try it again with the pitching crew wanting to get back on the right track while the offense continuing at the pace they presently found themselves to be at. First pitch, question mark, set for 11:45AM.